Annoying octal notation

Derek Martin code at
Sat Aug 22 21:04:17 CEST 2009

On Sat, Aug 22, 2009 at 10:03:35AM +1000, Ben Finney wrote:
> > and the former is virtually indistinguishable from 00012, O0012, or
> > many other combinations that someone might accidentally type (or
> > intentionally type, having to do this in dozens of other programming
> > languages).
> Only if you type the letter in uppercase. The lower-case ‘o’ is much
> easier to distinguish.

It is easier, but I dispute that it is much easier.
> Whether or not you find ‘0o012’ easily distinguishable as a non-decimal
> notation, it's undoubtedly easier to distinguish than ‘012’.

012 has meant  decimal 10 in octal to me for so long, from its use in
MANY other programming languages, that I disagree completely.  

> > I can see how 012 can be confusing to new programmers, but at least
> > it's legible, and the great thing about humans is that they can be
> > taught (usually). I for one think this change is completely misguided.
> These human programmers, whether newbies or long-experienced, also deal
> with decimal numbers every day, many of which are presented as a
> sequence of digits with leading zeros — and we continue to think of them
> as decimal numbers regardless. Having the language syntax opposed to
> that is 
...consistent with virtually every other popular programming language.

Derek D. Martin
GPG Key ID: 0x81CFE75D

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